Hereford & Worcester

Charity boss 'preyed on Kenyan boys as young as six'

An ex-teacher and charity boss "preyed" on Kenyan boys as young as six and sexually abused them, a jury has heard.

Simon Harris, 55, lured street children to his car with food and took them home, Birmingham Crown Court was told.

He denies 22 offences, including rape and sexual assault of boys under 13, indecent assault and possessing indecent images of children.

Mr Harris, of Herefordshire, has admitted indecently assaulting three teenage boys in Devon in the 1980s.

Kevin Hegarty QC, prosecuting, said Mr Harris would drive into the town of Gilgil in Kenya and encourage street children into his Land Rover with food and money.

'Sheltering in doorways'

"It is on those children the defendant preyed," Mr Hegarty said.

Mr Harris left the UK for Kenya in the mid-1990s and ran a charity called VAE, which placed gap-year students with schools around Gilgil.

The court heard Mr Harris would drive street children back to his home, known locally as The Green House, where they would stay for days at a time.

The prosecution said his victims were "very small children who have no families, nobody to look after them, seven or eight years old, sheltering in doorways".

The allegations against Mr Harris date from 2001 to 2013 and involve 11 children.

Jurors heard some of the children would give evidence to the court from Kenya, over a live satellite link.

The prosecution said some of the boys were given jobs around the house, such as cutting grass, cleaning or fetching water.

Mr Hegarty said one boy who was nine at the time, was told by another "to leave - fast".

Instead he stayed and was raped, the prosecution said.

"He was told [by Harris] that if he refused he would kill him and beat him," said Mr Hegarty.

"When it was over, he told the young boy to get dressed and took him back to town."

Escape attempt

Another boy, aged six, was picked up by Mr Harris while he was collecting charcoal in town to sell for food, the court heard.

He was given money and cigarettes by Mr Harris and raped three times during his stay at the house, Mr Hegarty said.

One boy locked himself in a room in an attempt to escape, and discovered an album containing pictures of naked children, the court was told.

Under English law, British citizens can be tried for sex offences committed abroad against children under 16 if it is also an offence in that country, jurors were told.

On Monday, Mr Harris admitted six offences of indecently assaulting three boys aged between 13 and 14 while he was a teacher at Shebbear College in Devon in the 1980s.

"Perhaps he went to Kenya with the best intentions in the world to do some good, but once there he slipped back into his old ways and it got worse and worse," Mr Hegarty said.

The trial, expected to last until December, continues.

Related Topics

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites